During E3 2017, GameSpot got the opportunity to talk with Metroid Producer Yoshio Sakamoto & MercurySteam’s Jose Luis Márquez about how Metroid: Samus Returns came into development, who approached who, and the features that have been integrated into the game. You can check out the highlights of the interview below.
GameSpot: How long has Metroid: Samus Returns been in development?
Yoshio Sakamoto: About two years.
Did Nintendo seek MercurySteam out for this project or was it the other way around?
There was a very fateful meeting, so we’ll tell you that to start off with.
I just wanted to start out by saying I’ve been wanting to make a 2D Metroid game with today’s technology for quite a long time. It wasn’t only my personal desire, but also because I know there are a lot of people out there in the world who have been clamoring for a 2D Metroid game.
Then I heard of MercurySteam and they were looking to take on the challenge of remaking a Metroid game. It wasn’t Metroid II, but again I’d heard about this desire from the MercurySteam team.
I knew MercurySteam from their development work on Castelvania. I thought, “We’ve got to meet with these guys,” and so we flew out to Spain [where MercurySteam is located]. Over the course of that meeting, obviously we had a great time. It seemed like, wow, there’s a lot of potential here, and basically that’s really how it got started.
Jose Luis Márquez: Like Sakamoto-san said, we approached Nintendo to make a remake of a classic game. We are also a fan of the series, so we were happy to know that they wanted to collaborate with us.
How challenging has it been to revisit that game? It’s fairly old by today’s standards, and there are a lot of features that have been added into later Metroids that weren’t available in that title. Has a lot of it been redesigned around the more modern features?
As you said, of course, there’s a lot of new elements that we felt that we needed to add, things that were core to Metroid gameplay, so that would be some of these new abilities that we’re looking at.
Thanks to that collaboration with MercurySteam we were able to incorporate new stuff that is in line with what the series would expect, but on top of that, brand new stuff that is above and beyond that, and we were able to create what I think is a really wonderful installment in this series, and a large part of that is in thanks to this collaboration that we have.
What was the reason you went with polygonal visuals for this game as opposed to the traditional pixel style of older 2D Metroids?
For myself, my answer would be, of course, we wanted to incorporate a lot of varied animation. We wanted to make it look as good as we could and we thought really the polygonal art style was much more suited toward what we wanted to be the look of the game.
I think another merit of using polygons was that, because the games in 3D, we wanted to be able to look at things from a variety of different angles and we wanted to create what we think are these very dramatic and cool cut scenes.